Ossining Police Department launches Spanish-language Facebook page
The Ossining Police Department may be the first department in Westchester to start a Spanish Facebook page.
News 12 is told the page launched sometime between Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. Officials hope to bridge relations between the department and the Spanish-speaking community.
Ossining Detective Jafeth Chavez says when he emigrated to the United States from Peru, he didn’t know any English. “I had a hard time,” says Chavez.
Now as a member of the Ossining Police Department, he is using his past to solve a problem - by starting the page.
“The biggest thing with them is the barrier there, the language barrier and trying to break down that barrier and trying to make them feel comfortable,” says Chavez.
Police say they plan to post about recent crimes, as well as utilize the page to explain things like how to fill out a parking ticket.
Chavez believes helping with basic needs can build trust.
“We want to be able to make them feel comfortable, that way they can come to us when they are victimized or when they also see a crime as well,” says Chavez.
The page has already garnered nearly 700 likes.
News 12 spoke with resident Rosa Hernandez who approves of the idea.
"This will be a huge help to improve communication especially for Hispanics and the police,” says Hernandez. “It's a big step and an advancement for the Ossining community.”
Hernandez also mentioned the issue of the language barrier, saying in part, “Because we cannot explain the situation, for example, if we have a problem you don’t feel able to tell police what happened.”
Victor Monga of Ossining believes the page truly serves as a tool to build a bridge, so language is no longer a roadblock to serving the community.
"We can talk with them and explain what problems we have,” says Monga.